More expat woes after several expats from America and several other countries were taken down in a “poker sting.” Gambling is apparently a no-no in Thailand, and these expats are now facing the consequences:
An illegal live poker game was raided by police in Thailand Sunday morning, resulting in the arrest of 9 foreign nationals and two Cambodian Casino workers who were acting as host and dealer for the game…
… All those arrested have been charges and await court appearances.
When someone is not in his home country, he needs to think about what it would be like to be in the position in which these expats find themselves. Always ask yourself: is it worth the gamble?
There are expats the world over who have found out the hard way that life abroad is not always what it seems. Our forums at ExpatExchange are rife with first-hand stories posted by expats that find that living overseas is not what they thought it would be. A recent article on Dailymail.co.uk about unhappy British expats in France explores that reality.
But with familiarity came disenchantment. The croissants were sometimes stale, the women not always glamorous, there were supermarkets alongside the street markets and fast-food joints next door to the traditional bistros. In short, she began to notice that France wasn’t quite as French as her first romantic impressions.
As always, do your research, if you’re not yet living abroad. Go vist, talk to other expats and do everything else necessary to ensure you are making a choice that is best for you and – if applicable – your family.
Many expats believe that they will be able to manage the development of their native language in their children when they move abroad. So what happens when it finally dawns on an expat mother… my child isn’t becoming the bilingual child I had hoped (No English!, NYTimes.com) and is really only learning the language of my destination country:
It struck me: my son, born in Plantation, Fla., but raised in Madrid from the age of 1, is a bona fide Spaniard. He’s chosen his soccer team (Real Madrid). He attends a Spanish school. His cusses are those of any good Spaniard worth his linguistic salt. The prophecies of friends and relatives back in the United States, uttered gravely over the years, were becoming true: If I didn’t immerse my son in my native tongue, Spanish would forever be his dominant language and English, half-starved and scratching at a closed neural door, would remain dimly secondary.
I love the writer’s (the Mom’s!) conclusion to not get so caught up in the stress of “having to” have a child who is bilingual. If the parents feel that pressure, you can bet that the child also feels the pressure. That is a recipe for a child that will push back, and it reads like that’s exactly what the child is or was doing.
Almost all parents often want their child to develop in a certain way or embrace an activity or a sport. And some children will readily head in that direction. Others, however, need their space and will not be pressured into doing something in which they have no interest. In short, don’t feel like there’s a one-size-fits-all solution. A parent needs to read their child and make an informed choice as to what will be best for that individual.
Expats facing smog in China is a recurring theme in articles all over the web. This article in the Los Angeles Times about American expats leaving Beijing due to the pollution levels, however, really grabbed my attention:
After nearly two decades in Beijing, David Wolf knew it was time for a change when his 11-year-old son, Aaron, somberly asked him, “Dad, when you were growing up, did you ever have PE outdoors?”
Wolf had grown up in smog-choked Los Angeles in the 1970s, but even that wasn’t nearly as bad as Beijing today. His son, like many young students in the city, has been kept inside for months, with the luckier children getting the chance to exercise under huge air-filtered domes that their international schools have built.
Worse than Los Angeles in the ’70s? Air filtered domes? Good lord… This reads like a dystopian science-fiction novel.
Expats often think it’s a great career move to take a job in China. But that expat career boost comes with serious health risks, as reported in recent AP article on Yahoo.com:
Whitney Foard Small loved China and her job as a regional director of communications for a top automaker. But after air pollution led to several stays in hospital and finally a written warning from her doctor telling her she needed to leave, Small packed up and left for Thailand.
In doing so, the Ford Motor Co. executive became another expatriate to leave China because of the country’s notoriously bad air.
Expats always face unexpected challenges when they move abroad, but this is one that is increasingly becoming well known to a lot of people that have made being an expatriate the centerpiece of their career. I recently talked with an expat in Japan who indicated that every time he asked for another opportunity in another country, the only option he is given is China. Lots of opportunity, but keep in mind exactly what that means beyond the career implications.
ExpatExchange got some ink from the New York Times on Wednesday, in an article about Making a Move Abroad, and Working There, Too:
There’s a wide range of jobs that globe trotters may consider. Of course, there’s the possibility of accepting contract assignments from former employers. And there are often positions available to teach English, work as a translator, lead English-speaking tours, or work at hotels that cater to English-speaking travelers, according to Betsy Burlingame, founder of ExpatExchange.com, a leading Web site on international living.
This is a great article, as it covers a trend that is unlikely to change: people will need to work later into life. I think those that are able are likely to find a way to enjoy it, too – if you don’t have a choice, why let it ruin your life? Retiring abroad is adventurous and offers great opportunities – international experiences – that can’t be had at home. It won’t always be fun and games, but what is? So many people don’t have a choice, or they want to move overseas, and they are finding fun, rewarding lives abroad.
Expats in Asia are getting after home brewing and helping to introduce the craft to places such as Hong Kong and mainland China and Singapore. The article, from WSJ.com, also notes that the practice is outlawed in Malaysia completely.
In a handful of spare bedrooms in high-rise apartments all around Hong Kong, the yeast has been hard at work.
The results were sampled last weekend at the city’s first-ever homebrewing competition, where 16 mostly expatriate beer aficionados came bearing bottles of carefully concocted inebriants…
Until recently, homebrewing barely existed in Hong Kong, a city better known for its robust wine scene. But a nascent interest in craft beer among Western expats has brought more exposure to brews from the U.S., U.K. and beyond.
I found it odd that Japan would be one of the nations that would have relatively strict management, with a limit of only 1% alcohol by volume.
Overall, I think it’s great that expats are finding a great hobby to pursue while living in another country. There are a lot of expatriates that have trouble adjusting to life abroad, and this could be a great distraction for someone while they settle into a new culture. In addition to providing some sense of home, it likely also offers the potential to connect with other people trying there hand at the home brew craft. And when just one friendship can make all the difference in a cultural transition, it is easy to see how home brewing can really be a positive for expats!
Drunken Expats in Shanghai are causing problems. China’s “most international city” is experiencing tensions between it’s foreigners and the local population that would like more peace and quiet at night:
Furious locals “dumped water” on some 200 noisy foreigners who enjoying the nightlife on Yongkang Road, one of Shanghai’s most popular bar streets, last weekend.
A local government official told the Global Times newspaper they would now “force” the street’s bars – whose clients are largely European – to close by 10pm.
Residents of the street in what expats call the “Former French Concession” have reportedly been complaining about noise pollution for at least a year.
These kinds of stories are gentle reminders to expats everywhere that they are not living at home. The behavioral expectations for New York or London aren’t relevant to what happens abroad, even in a city widely regarded as the most friendly to westerners in China.
Similarly, two expats in the UAE recently had their death sentences overturned for trafficking in small amounts of hashish. Wake up out there!
An expat couple in Seoul, South Korea, teachers both, found their way into the world of entrepreneurship… and in more ways than one. This has to rank as one of my favorite expat stories. You start off as a teacher in a new country, and then…
Today, they’re running a clothing store in Seoul’s hippest neighborhood, a microbrewery in the neighborhood where all the expats hang out and they’re in the middle of hosting a 20-episode TV series on Arirang about the expat life that’s called “Semipermanent.”
As Mr. Moynihan explains it, “We had a lot of lines in the water … and they came together simultaneously” …
The clothing store is called Decade and is dedicated to introducing South Koreans to designers from North America who don’t just create fashions, but stay involved in their manufacturing…
The microbrewery is called Magpie and operates from a location down a hill from Itaewon that the couple says was designed to be a lab and taste center rather than a bar. Ms. Needham said she recently admitted to a customer that the place – which looks like an overgrown kitchen with a few stools tossed in – had indeed become a bar.
Style and fresh-brewed beer for expats… what could be better? There is an accompanying video that is one in a series that focuses on the lives of expats.
Here’s an excerpt from a great article written by a British man who fell in love with a woman from Paris and decided to move there:
Having a girlfriend that was fluent in the native language was definitely a major bonus. I am not sure how I could have sorted out things like the Internet connection, phone line, and electricity if she wasn’t on hand.
There were some things which I had to do for myself however, like go to the local shops to purchase food, which was a daunting experience to start with. The first time I walked into a French supermarket I felt as though I had a massive neon sign over my head indicating to everybody that there was an Englishman in their midst…
As I alluded earlier my French is very limited so I quickly became reliant on two phrases which my girlfriend taught me – ” Je ne parle pas français” (“I don’t speak French”) and “Parlez-vous Anglais?” (“Do you speak English?”).
There is a lot of fun and useful information in this article. People will go through quite a bit once they meet the right person, and that is all the more difficult – and fun – when it involves moving to another country and culture!